If you are an American, then based solely on that fact there is only a 32% chance that you have a household budget (read this article for more financial statistics). If you fall in that 32%, then fantastic! You are setting yourself up for financial success. If you fall into the 68% of people that do not have a budget, let’s talk. I read an article that The Balance put out on five excuses for why people aren’t budgeting. Here they are:
It takes too long. Yes, budgeting can take a long time when you’re just getting in to it. I remember times when my husband and I were first married that it would take us one to two hours to do the budget. We could never seem to get it to balance for some reason! But I promise you, the more you do it the easier and faster it will get. I can budget our paychecks in less than five minutes now and, when it comes time to budget out our expenses for the month, I can do that in about 15 to 20 minutes. Once you get the hang of it, it really doesn’t take that long. The benefits you will start to see from actively managing and budgeting your money will be well worth the hour-or-so per month that you will be putting in once you get the hang of it.
I don’t have enough money to budget. A budget can be done for any income amount. When you budget, the only thing that you are doing is creating a plan for your money. Whether you make $500 a month or $5,000 a month, you can create a budget (plan) for that money. If you feel like you’re not making enough money, then you can solve this in one of two ways. You can either increase your income or you can make cuts in your spending. If you are unable to make cuts to your spending, then it would be a good idea to get a second job or start working overtime. If you can’t get a second job or pick up any overtime, then you will need to cut back on your spending.
I don’t like tracking my expenses. Fair point. It would be extremely difficult to budget if you are unwilling to track your expenses. Unfortunately, not everything in life is enjoyable. I personally love budgeting, but I will admit that tracking expenses is a bit of work. However, the work that it takes to track my expenses is well worth the benefit of having 100% control over my money as well as the peace of mind that comes with not living paycheck to paycheck.
My spouse isn’t on board. If you are married and you are wanting to start a budget but your spouse isn’t quite on board, then you need to sit down and figure out why they aren’t on board. Explain your reasons for wanting to start a budget and listen to their reasons for not wanting to start a budget. If they simply don’t want to physically do the budget, then you volunteer to do that part. Maybe you can establish monthly “budget meetings” that only last about 30 minutes so that you can update them about your financial situation on a regular basis without them feeling like they have to put in a ton of effort. Sit down with your spouse and build some dreams together and figure out how you can make those dreams a reality with a budget. If all else fails and you are still wanting to budget and your spouse still isn’t on board, perhaps it would be a good idea to look into some marriage counseling to get an outside opinion and some professional advice.
Budgeting makes me feel bad. I could see there being a few reasons as to why budgeting might make someone feel bad. Perhaps they have a hard time getting their budget to balance. If that’s the case, just keep working on it and it will eventually work out! Like I said earlier, my husband and I had the same problem when we were first married. Maybe it’s because they feel that their budget is too restricting. If that’s the case, then try looking at your budget in a different light. The purpose of a budget is not necessarily to restrict what you spend (unless you have a tendency to spend more than you make). The purpose of a budget is to control your money by assigning it a category that it can be spent on. You tell $1500 of your income that it is to be spent on your mortgage, $500 that it is to be spent on groceries, $200 that it is to be spent on gas, and so on. Budgeting, when done correctly, should make you feel good because you can rest easy knowing that you have enough money in the bank to pay for your expenses.
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